Hello and Happy February,
It’s half term for us here and so we’re catching up with friends and chilling out. It’s lovely to see my eldest sitting with his nose in a book and the youngest is playing imaginary Lego games as I type! Domestic harmony (oh that it were always thus!)
Someone was talking to me the other day about divorce and as I was talking to them I wondered if what was I was saying would be of any use to anyone else. So I’ve decided to see how a ‘Your Questions Answered’ page goes down…if you have any questions that you’d like me to answer then email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll blog a reply which might also help other people…lets see how it works.
I’m also really keen to support a wonderful idea which is raising money for Breast Cancer Care. Check out Wisdoms of Women and leave any words of wisdom you have had from another woman, and, if you’re a woman, any wisdom you would like the share. The best pieces of wisdom will be put in book to be published by Hay House and all proceeds will go to Breast Cancer Care.
So here we go. The person I listened to was having trouble deciding whether to move in with their new post-divorce partner and her children and was worried that this would mean that his own children would be left out.
So I was remembering how hard it is after a divorce or separation to think of yourself. I felt so guilty about the divorce and my self-esteem was pretty down after the marriage. I wanted to protect the boys and get things right for me, but my self-belief was low and it was hard to connect with people at times when I was feeling so vulnerable. I was also in my 40s and so was sure that I’d be doomed to a life of celibacy, which at times seemed quite attractive!
Two years down the line none of the bad stuff I feared has come to pass (or if it did, it came and went and I survived). So what did I learn through it all?
- My good friend E came up for the weekend and as we were walking said ‘It’s all about you now’ and although it sounds selfish, it’s not. It’s so easy in a long term relationship to lose yourself and to worry about what the other person thinks and what they think of you and so it took a long time to think about what I wanted and needed. So ask yourself: ‘What do I want?’ ‘What works for me?’ and ask for it.
- Secondly build a bigger life. Get out and meet new people call up old people learn something new, read something different turn the TV off, go for a walk. Do anything that you didn’t do before. it doesn’t have to cost money and if you try it and don’t like it, don’t do it again. The worst thing to do it nothing, because nothing will change nothing…so doing anything (that is healthy for you) is the way to move on.
- Try and create win-win situations. What can you do that works for you kids and you? What can you negotiate that works for your ex and yourself? If you meet someone new, how can it work for both of you (and if you both have children, how can it work for both sets of children). If you go for ‘either/or’ situations, someone is losing out, creating win-wins means everyone gets at least some of what they need.
- If you do have children, talk to them…they don’t need to know the details of what went wrong, of what’s going on, but do include them in decisions which effect them. Allow them to talk about how they feel and accept it. Support them in talking to your ex and anyone else who they find supportive.
- If you’re faced with a decision, do nothing until you’re clear about what to do. That doesn’t mean ignore the problem, it just means you need to keep asking yourself what you really want, and then waiting to see what the answer is (whilst getting on with the new things you are starting in your new life)
- Be kind to yourself and find support. At times like this we need parenting, and it may not be that our parents can do that for us. Find older people you can trust and who will listen to you without judging, and tell them how you feel, and what you need.
There is so much more to say, divorce and separation are hard, as is bereavement. As my good friend B used to say; ‘it will pass’ and it does, just be gentle with yourself, look for people who are gentle with you and look for win-win situations.